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The Parallel Curriculum

A Design to Develop Learner Potential and Challenge Advanced Learners
Packed with sample units, rubrics, and more, this updated bestseller helps teachers develop and implement a curriculum that moves students along the continuum toward expertise.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12, Elementary, Secondary
  • ISBN: 9781412961318
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2008
  • Page Count: 336
  • Publication date: October 22, 2008

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"The Parallel Curriculum Model helps teachers not only strengthen their knowledge and pedagogy, but also rediscover a passion for their discipline based on their deeper, more connected understanding. Our students think critically and deeply at a level I have never before witnessed."
—Tony Poole, Principal
Sky Vista Middle School, Aurora, CO

"What makes this book unique is its insistence on the development of conceptual understanding of content and its focus on the abilities, interests, and learning preferences of each student."
—H. Lynn Erickson, Educational Consultant
Author of Stirring the Head, Heart, and Soul

"The approach honors the integrity of the disciplines while remaining responsive to the diversity of learners that teachers encounter."
—Jay McTighe, Educational Consultant
Coauthor of Understanding by Design

Engage students with a rich curriculum that strengthens their capacity as learners and thinkers!

Based on the premise that every learner is somewhere on a path toward expertise in a content area, this resource promotes a curriculum model for developing the abilities of all students and extending the abilities of students who perform at advanced levels.

The Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM) offers four curriculum parallels that incorporate the element of Ascending Intellectual Demand to help teachers determine current student performance levels and develop intellectual challenges to move learners along a continuum toward expertise. Updated throughout and reflecting state and national content standards, this new edition:

  • Helps teachers design learning experiences that develop PreK–12 learners' analytical, critical, and creative thinking skills in each subject area
  • Provides a framework for planning differentiated curriculum
  • Includes examples of curriculum units, sample rubrics, and tables to help implement the PCM model

The Parallel Curriculum effectively promotes educational equity and excellence by ensuring that all students are adequately challenged and supported through a multidimensional, high-quality curriculum.



Carol Ann Tomlinson photo

Carol Ann Tomlinson

Carol Ann Tomlinson‘s career as an educator includes 21 years as a public school teacher. She taught in high school, preschool, and middle school, and worked with heterogeneous classes as well as special classes for students identified as gifted and students with learning difficulties. Her public school career also included 12 years as a program administrator of special services for advanced and struggling learners. She was Virginia’s Teacher of the Year in 1974. She is professor of educational leadership, foundations, and pol­icy at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education; a researcher for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented; a codirec­tor of the University of Virginia’s Summer Institute on Academic Diversity; and president of the National Association for Gifted Children. Special interests through­out her career have included curriculum and instruction for advanced learners and struggling learners, effective instruction in heterogeneous settings, and bridging the fields of general education and gifted education. She is author of over 100 articles, book chapters, books, and other professional development materials, including How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms, The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, Leadership for Differentiated Schools and Classrooms, the facilitator’s guide for the video staff development sets called Differentiating Instruction, and At Work in the Differentiated Classroom, as well as a professional inquiry kit on differentiation. She works throughout the United States and abroad with teachers whose goal is to develop more responsive heterogeneous classrooms.
Sandra N. Kaplan photo

Sandra N. Kaplan

Sandra N. Kaplan has been a teacher and administrator of gifted programs in an urban school district in California. Currently, she is clinical professor in learning and instruction at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. She has authored articles and books on the nature and scope of differenti­ated curriculum for gifted students. Her primary area of concern is modifying the core and differentiated curriculum to meet the needs of inner-city, urban, gifted learners. She is a past president of the California Association for the Gifted (CAG) and the National Asso­ciation for Gifted Children (NAGC). She has been nationally recognized for her con­tributions to gifted education.
Joseph S. Renzulli photo

Joseph S. Renzulli

Joseph S. Renzulli is professor of educational psychology at the University of Connecticut, where he also serves as director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. His research has focused on the identification and development of creativity and giftedness in young people and on organizational models and curricular strategies for total school improvement. A focus of his work has been on applying the strategies of gifted education to the improvement of learning for all students. He is a fellow in the American Psychological Association and was a consultant to the White House Task Force on Education of the Gifted and Talented. He was recently designated a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor at the University of Con­necticut. Although he has obtained more than $20 million in research grants, he lists as his proudest professional accomplishments the UConn Mentor Connection program for gifted young students and the summer Confratute program at UConn, which began in 1978 and has served thousands of teachers and administrators from around the world.  
Jeanne H. Purcell photo

Jeanne H. Purcell

Jeanne H. Purcell is the consultant to the Connecticut State Depart­ment of Education for gifted and talented education. She is also director of UConn Mentor Connection, a nationally recognized summer mentorship program for talented teenagers that is part of the NEAG Center for Talent Development at the University of Con­necticut. Prior to her work at the State Department of Connecticut, she was an administrator for Rocky Hill Public Schools (CT); a pro­gram specialist with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, where she worked collaboratively with other researchers on national issues related to high-achieving young people; an instructor of Teaching the Talented, a graduate-level program in gifted education; and a staff developer to school districts across the country and Canada. She has been an En­glish teacher, community service coordinator, and teacher of the gifted, K-12, for 18 years in Connecticut school districts and has published many articles that have appeared in Educational Leadership, Gifted Child Quarterly, Roeper Review, Educa­tional and Psychological Measurement, National Association of Secondary School Principals’ Bulletin, Our Children: The National PTA Magazine, Parenting for High Potential, and Journal for the Education of the Gifted. She is active in the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and serves on the Awards Committee and the Curriculum Committee of NAGC, for which she is the co-chair for the annual Curriculum Awards Competition.
Jann H. Leppien photo

Jann H. Leppien

Jann Leppien served as a gifted and talented coordinator in Montana prior to attending the University of Connecticut, where she earned her doctorate in gifted education and worked as a research assistant at the National Research Center for the Gifted and Talented. She has been a teacher for 24 years, spending 14 of those years working as a classroom teacher, enrichment specialist, and coordinator of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model in Montana. She is past president of the Montana Association for Gifted and Tal­ented Education. Currently, she is an associate professor in the School of Education at the University of Great Falls in Montana. Leppien teaches graduate and under­graduate courses in gifted education, educational research, curriculum and assess­ment, creativity, and methods courses in math, science, and social studies. Her research interests include teacher collaboration, curriculum design, underachievement, and planning instruction for advanced learners. Leppien works as a consultant to teachers in the field of gifted education and as a national trainer for the Talents Unlimited Program. She is coauthor of The Multiple Menu Model: A Par­allel Guide for Developing Differentiated Curriculum. She is active in the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), serving as a board member and newsletter editor of the Curriculum Division, and a board member of the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students.
Deborah E. Burns photo

Deborah E. Burns

Deborah E. Burns began her teaching career in 1973 as a Title I reading and mathematics teacher in a rural K-8 school in Michigan. She has worked as a K-8 classroom teacher, as a middle school language arts spe­cialist, and as a program coordinator for a seven-district consortium. She has taught in preschool, summer, and Saturday programs, in resource rooms, a psychiatric ward, an orphanage, and at the university level. She has written grants, professional development modules, journal articles, assessments, program evaluations, curriculum units, and three books. She has also designed and implemented class­room-based research studies and conducted program and teacher evaluations. For the past 15 years, she has been employed by the University of Connecticut’s NEAG School of Education as a program director, an assistant professor, a research scien­tist, associate professor in residence, and most recently in Cheshire as curriculum coordinator for the district. She is an active member of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and has been a board member for the past five years. She is a member of the Curriculum Division and is co-chair of the annual Curriculum Awards Competition. Burns earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary edu­cation from Michigan State University in 1973. She pursued her graduate studies at Western Michigan University in clinical reading instruction and received her MEd from Ashland College in 1978 in remedial reading, administration, and supervision. She pursued additional graduate studies at Ohio State University involving ad­ministration, special education, and gifted education and received her PhD in educational psychology and gifted education from the University of Connecticut in 1987.
Cindy A. Strickland photo

Cindy A. Strickland

Cindy A. Strickland has been a teacher for twenty-five years and has worked with students of all ages, from kindergarten to master’s degree. A member of the ASCD Differentiation Faculty Cadre, Cindy works closely with Carol Ann Tomlinson and has coauthored several books and articles with her. In the past eight years, Cindy’s consulting work has taken her to forty-six states, five provinces, and three continents where she has provided workshops on topics relating to differentiation, the Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM), and gifted education.
Cindy’s publications include Staff Development Guide for the Parallel Curriculum; The Parallel Curriculum Model, 2nd edition; The Parallel Curriculum Model in the Classroom: Applications Across the Content Areas; and In Search of the Dream: Designing Schools and Classrooms That Work for High Potential Students from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds.

Publications in differentiation include Professional Development for Differentiated Instruction: An ASCD Toolkit, Exploring Differentiated Instruction, Tools for High-Quality Differentiated Instruction: An ASCD Toolkit, the ASCD online course Success with Differentiation, the book Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades 9–12, and a unit in the book Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades 5–9.
Marcia B. Imbeau photo

Marcia B. Imbeau

Marcia B. Imbeau is an associate professor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where she teaches graduate courses in gifted education and elementary education. She is actively involved with university/public school partnerships and teaches in a local elementary school as a university liaison. Her professional experience includes serving as a field researcher for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, elementary teaching in the regular classroom, teaching in programs for the gifted, and coordinating university-based and Saturday programs for advanced learners.

Imbeau has been a board member for the National Association for Gifted Children and has served as a governor at-large for the Council for Exceptional Children – The Association for the Gifted Division. She is a past president of Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education, a state organization that supports appropriate instructional services for all students.

Working with special education colleagues, she has coauthored How to Use Differentiated Instruction With Students with Disabilities in the General Education Classroom as a service publication for the Council for Exceptional Children. Her most recent publication may be found in Designing Services and Programs for High-Ability Learners.

Imbeau is a member of the ASCD’s Differentiated Instruction Cadre, which provides support and training to schools interested in improving their efforts to meet the academically diverse learning needs of their students.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition


About the Authors

1. The Rationale and Guiding Principles for an Evolving Conception of Curriculum

A Word to New Readers About This Chapter

Reasons for Another Curriculum Model

Theoretical and Research-Based Underpinnings of the Parallel Curriculum Model

2. An Overview of the Parallel Curriculum Model

A Look at the Four Curriculum Parallels

The Core Curriculum

The Curriculum of Connections

The Curriculum of Practice

The Curriculum of Identity

Curriculum Combining the Four Parallels

Planning Quality Curriculum

Ensuring Fidelity to the Parallel Curriculum Model

Looking Ahead in the Book

3. Thinking About the Elements of Curriculum Design

The Big Picture

Planning Quality Curriculum

Some Key Components of Curriculum Design

Components of a Comprehensive Curriculum Plan



Introductory Activities

Teaching Methods

Learning Activities

Grouping Strategies



Extension Activities

Differentiation Based on Learner Need (Including AID)

Lesson and Unit Closure

Remodeling a Unit Using the Comprehensive Curriculum Framework: One Teacher's Approach

Looking Back and Ahead

4. The Core Curriculum Parallel

Why Four Approaches to Curriculum Design? Isn't One Good Enough?

What Is "Core" in the Core Curriculum Parallel?

How Are the Key Curriculum Components Reconfigured to Achieve the Goals of the Core Curriculum Parallel?

Revising the Remaining Curriculum Components to Address the Goals of the Core Curriculum Parallel

Using the Goals of the Core Curriculum Parallel and Key Curricular Elements for Lydia Janis's Civil War Unit

Looking Back and Ahead

5. The Curriculum of Connections Parallel

What Is the Curriculum of Connections?

The Purpose of a Curriculum of Connections: Why Should a Teacher Emphasize Connections and Relationships?

The Curriclum of Connections: When Should I Use This Parallel?

The Characteristics of the Curriculum Components Within the Curriculum of Connections

Reconfiguring Other Curriculum Components for the Curriculum of Connections

An Example of the Curriculum of Connections Using the Civil War Unit

Looking Back and Ahead

6. The Curriculum of Practice Parallel

What Does It Mean to "Practice" in a Curriculum?

Why Does It Matter to Have Students Engage in the Curriculum of Practice?

Key Features of the Components of Curriculum in the Curriculum of Practice?

An Example of the Curriculum of Practice Using Lydia's Civil War Unit

Looking Back and Ahead

7. The Curriculum of Identity Parallel

What Does Identity Mean in the Curriculum of Identity?

Why Should We Be Concerned About a Student's Identity?

What Are the Key Features and Characteristics of Curriculum Components Within the Curriculum of Identity?

An Example of the Curriculum of Identity Using Lydia's Civil War Unit

Looking Back and Ahead

8. Ascending Intellectual Demand in the Parallel Curriculum Model: The Journey Toward Expertise

Ascending Intellectual Demand: The Path to Expertise

Planning Backwards From Expertise

Understanding the AID Continuum

On the Continuum Novice

On the Continuum Apprentice

On the Continuum Practitioner

On the Continuum Expert

Transitions on the AID Continuum

A Model for Planning Student Movement Along the AID Continuum

The Novice in Science

The Apprentice in Science

The Practitioner in Science

The Expert in Science

Planning the Path Toward Expertise in Science

The Novice in Mathematics

The Apprentice in Mathematics

The Practitioner in Mathematics

The Expert in Mathematics

The Novice in History

The Apprentice in History

The Practitioner in History

The Expert in History

The Novice in English and Language Arts

The Apprentice in English and Language Arts

The Practitioner in English and Language Arts

The Expert in English and Language Arts

Using the AID Continuum

Resource A: Teaching Resources for Chapter 8





Price: $50.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.